EXTORTION, BAD ROADS KILLING NIGERIAN PORTS
Experts Posit that Nigeria Losing Trillions, Making Billions
Notwithstanding the billions made from the Lagos Sea Ports daily, the very bad spots outward Apapa at Leventis and inward Apapa at Ijora are, to say the least national embarrassments.
Who has not heard, seen or suffered at these nightmarish spots?
Are we waiting for tankers and trailers to fall, spill their contents at these spots resulting in huge loses, if not life before repair work commence?
Who is responsible?
Who is in charge?
Nobody, no agency, no ministry?
If the Lagos of Sanwo-Olu, Tinubu, Osinbajo and Fashola which is home to multibillion Investments by Dangote, Adenuga, Otedola, Rabiu, Alakija and many other notable sons and daughters could be so neglected, what are we to expect in state not as fortunate as Lagos?
The Q1 revenue figures from the Apapa and Tin Can Commands of the Nigeria Customs Service makes the existence of such dark spots along the port corridors inexplicable.
Where is our competitive edge? What is the attraction to our ports? How do we create jobs if transportation which drives the economy receives no attention? Where is our focus? Is it all about Revenue collection?
Is it possible that these Commands will make less revenue if the port access roads are motorable?
What will happen if importers move their cargoes speedily from the ports and exports do not perish before accessing the ports?
The factors affecting patronage of the ports of Nigeria by neighbouring countries are multi but the roads have to be fixed; urgently.
The bad spots enable and facilitate extortions, if not robbery by all shades of persons under one guise or another.
Months ago, the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA) had warned that it will commence legal action against the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over extortion and unfair activities in the ports soon owing to what they referred to as “extortions, harassment of truck drivers and total collapse of the accessible road networks”.
In a notice to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Counsel to COMTUA, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), revealed that several letters have been written to NPA on the issues of extortion and terrible access roads.
According to Adegboruwa, “Our client forwarded several documents, letters and correspondences substantiating their claims against the officials of the NPA and the representatives or relevant agencies of the Lagos State Government.
“Our client is vehemently disputing the cost and value of the services being rendered by ETO/TTP as there has been cases of extortions and breach of agreement on the part of your office.
“It was mutually agreed that the sum of N10,000 was payable for booking process as entry permit into the terminal but TTP now extort a whooping sum of N31,250.
“Contrary to the intent and purpose of TTP which was meant to eradicate payment checkpoints, there has been proliferation of illegal checkpoints along the terminal routes with attendant extortion of the sum of N5,000 per checkpoints,” he said.
Adegboruwa noted that efforts and interventions of the Minister of Transportation in setting up Ministerial Steering and Implementation Committee to proffer solutions associated with ease of doing business at the Apapa/Tin Can Island Port has been defeated.
Bad roads, extortions, dysfunctional systems and mutual suspicion all have the reoccurring ugly decimal Corruption for which Nigerian ports have become famously notorious.
Further delay in addressing these issues makes more horrific the calamity that such national embarrassing negligence portends.
The time to act was yesterday.